Meraas cuts back Jumeira Gardens

Contractors have been discharged or told to scale back activities as the Dh350bn project is reevaluated.

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ABU DHABI // Meraas Development, a new property company launched as the five-year boom was subsiding, is "adapting" the master plan and designs for its Jumeira Gardens project in Dubai to fit the market conditions, executives said Wednesday. Jumeira Gardens was announced at Cityscape last October, where it was described as a Dh350bn (US$95.3bn) project that would unfold over several years. The designs showed five towers, including a trio of buildings more than 600-metres tall that would be connected by inhabitable sky bridges, as well as islands off the coast and a network of canals.

But with sales slowed to a trickle in the emirate and developers struggling with a lack of cash flow and credit, the company has opted to change its plans. Most contractors have been discharged or told to halt activity until a revision of the plans is complete. "Shifting away from the fast track development of its Jumeira Gardens project, and in light of the rapid change in the real estate market and global economic conditions, Meraas Development is now focusing on adapting its master plan, designs and product mix to suit market conditions," the company said in a statement today. "The company is redefining its short-term strategy and approach to focus on developing initial phases of Jumeira Gardens while confirming its commitment to the principle of developing an integrated city in the heart of Dubai... Meraas is well poised to accelerate its development upon stabilisation of the real estate market."

In January, residents evicted from the proposed Jumeira construction site in the Satwa and Al Wasl areas of Dubai reported that they were told that they would be allowed to stay in their homes while the project was on hold. Meraas is fully owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.